Eastern Conference: Bruins shuffle the deck

Eastern Conference: Bruins shuffle the deck
August 26, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) is congratulated by defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44) after game three of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. The Bruins won 2-0.

(Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON BRUINS

2012-13: 28-14-6, 62 points

Where they finished: 2nd in the Northeast; 4th in the East; 5th in the NHL

Coach: Claude Julien (7th season)

Key additions: RW Jarome Iginla,  RW Loui Eriksson,  RW Reilly Smith, RW Matt Fraser, RW Nick Johnson, G Chad Johnson

Key subtractions: RW Nathan Horton, RW Tyler Seguin, RW Jaromir Jagr, D Andrew Ference, D Anton Khudobin, RW Jamie Tardiff

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Loui Eriksson – David Krejci – Milan Lucic

Jarome Iginla – Patrice Bergeron – Brad Marchand

Reilly Smith – Chris Kelly – Daniel Paille

Shawn Thornton – Gregory Campbell – Carl Soderberg

Defense

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg

Johnny Boychuk – Adam McQuaid

Torey Krug – Dougie Hamilton

Goaltenders

Tuukka Rask – Chad Johnson

Our take: No team in the East has won more playoff games in the past three years than the Bruins, who in June fell two wins short of their second Stanley Cup in three years.

The main cast of characters – Chara, Lucic, Bergeron and Rask – remain in Boston, with Bergeron agreeing to an eight-year, $52 million extension. But it will be difficult for the Bruins to replace their top two right wings, Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr, who combined for 29 goals last season.

The Bruins are hoping Jarome Iginla, who spurned them at last year’s trade deadline, still has enough in the tank to contribute as a free agent. But the real key offensively is Loui Eriksson, who was acquired in a seven-player deal that sent Seguin and Peverley to Dallas.

Eriksson has been consistently good for 25 goals and 45 assists in his NHL career and those totals would satisfy the Bruins. The departure of Horton and Jagr might also open the door for Reilly Smith, who scored 30 goals for Miami-Ohio two seasons ago.

On the blue line, the Bruins will miss Ference but will be expecting big things from second-year defenseman Dougie Hamilton. And in goal, Rask remains one of the top goalies in the league. 

In short, the Bruins’ roster is not as strong now as it was in June, but there’s enough to expect another playoff run.

Offseason Grade: B

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14: Yes.